Artist: Celer
Title: Nacreous Clouds
Catalog Number: and/33
Release Year: 2008
Format: CD
Status: Sold Out

Track List:
01.
80,000 Feet
02. Taking Measures Toward Morning
03. Cherry Souls Awakening
04. Scarfs, Blisters And Night Lights
05. Artificial Colours
06. Swift And Ersatz Cough To Morning
07. Fathom This Young Life
08. Metal Master
09. Diphenhydramine
10. Sluggish In The Morning
11. Seeing; That Side Of Teaching
12. Mi
13. Peak Pressure
14. Rain Machines
15. Voiceless Devilfish
16. Swarms Of Orange
17. The Divine Is Not Invisible
18. Passing Hills And Still Windmills
19. Petrified Forest
20. Ice Deserts Over Ross Island
21. Scratch The Chest Of Your Voices
22. Blind Darsan
23. Missed Language
24. Late Calms
25. "To Be Holy, Be Wholly Your Own"
26. Hyperopia
27. Right To Left
28. A Minor Echolocation
29. We Were Blond First
30. The Stars Are Only Smears
31. Orionne
32. 5:59 AM
33. Ends Meet
34. Mass Clouds
35. Till The Clouds Roll By
36. Apricot Sunrise
37. Echelons
Polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs), also known as "nacreous clouds", are
found in the winter polar stratosphere at altitudes of 15,000–25,000 metres
(50,000–80,000 ft).  Due to their high altitude and the curvature of the surface
of the Earth, these clouds will receive sunlight from below the horizon and
reflect it to the ground, shining brightly well before dawn or after dusk. PSCs
form at very low temperatures, below −78 °C. These temperatures can occur
in the lower stratosphere in polar winter. In the Antarctic, temperatures below
−88 °C frequently cause type II PSCs. Such low temperatures are rarer in the
Arctic. Apart from arctic regions, PSCs have also been known to be seen in
Scandinavia, Iceland, Alaska and Northern Canada. Sometimes, however,
they occur as far south as England.

This beautiful release features 37 short tracks of raw iridescent ambience
(total time exceeding 78 minutes) reflecting the hyper-temporal nature of
what are known as "nacreous clouds". And like the clouds, the tracks are
quick to appear and disappear. Playback using the random shuffle mode of
your CD player is highly recommended.

While this is undoubtedly an ambient release, it is unusual in that  there are
many short tracks instead of one or two long ones, and each of the tracks is
notably  "raw" in that they do not use additional processing like reverb to
enhance the initial processed sound sources further. This might prove to be
a challenge for those who prefer their ambience buried under a thousand
pounds of reverb, but it is not the intent of the artists or and/OAR to release
"just another ambient CD". Instead, we invite you to explore an alternative
method of rendering ambience in a way that is more immediate, therefore
effecting the listener's mind in a more personal and powerful way.

"We originally recorded ourselves playing instruments such as cello, violin,
piano and bells. We also made recordings of household sounds (such as
showers, running water in the sink, and television static), plus the wind
outside, beaches cars passing, walking on gravel streets, etc. Afterward we
went through everything, choosing specific parts in lengths ranging from 3
seconds to 3 minutes, and made tape loops of everything. At this point, we
arranged the different tape loops into patterns and speeds meant to
resemble the clouds and their actions as much as possible. When mixing
the loops, we played three to six of them at a time, on different reel-to-reel
tape players connected to both of our laptops and channeled back out into a
Kaiser filter."  (Celer)

Celer are the wife and husband duo of Dani Baquet-Long and Will Long.
After releasing a rather prolific series of handcrafted self-released CDRs,
2008 has seen a sudden flurry of CD releases on recording labels such as
Spekk (with Matthieu Ruhlmann), two releases on Infraction (with a possible
third to come?), plus and/OAR.

Danielle Baquet -Long is a teacher of special education and music therapy,
a seasoned and published writer of poetry and prose, a painter, multi-
instrumentalist and vocalist, also recording under the project name of
Chubby Wolf. She has an extensive background in Gender Studies,
Education, Basque History, Photography, and Tibetan Studies, as well as
having lived in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the United States.

Will Long also works in education, and is a published writer of fiction, non-
fiction, and poetry, with degrees from two universities in English and History,
and with a background in Creative Writing, Philosophy, and Literature. He is
also an instrumentalist, interested in finding a meeting place through music
between the analog and digital world, through field recordings, custom
software, arrangements, and concepts. He first began experimenting with
sound at
age 4, making 'unsynchronized tape loops' by recording fragments
of pleasant tones from records and films onto audio cassettes, rewinding,
recording again, and repeating the process until the tape was filled up.

During Will and Dani's time together, they have produced numerous custom,
handmade self-releases, sound for installations and art exhibitions, as well
as creating works for independent labels in North America, Japan, and
Europe. Their intent is producing works that reflect the nature of love, family,
and their concerns and interests, through a relative and absolute
symposium of expression.
Smallfish  (September 2008)
An utterly enchanting release from and/OAR which sees the husband and
wife team of Dani Baquet-Long and Will long delivering what can only be
called a magical series of ambient works. Using a wide range of original
sound recordings including live instruments and environmental sounds the
tracks are then built up using layering and filtering to create the dream-like,
drifting final pieces. Meant to be an aural representation of the nacreous
clouds from the title there's a loving and gentle touch here and it's interesting
that the final product features lots of shorter tracks rather than the more
standard three of four long ones. I for one believe it works exactly as intended
and to experience the entire CD in one 78 minute sitting is the best way to
enjoy it. Warm, yet distant and full of natural sounding beauty this is a
release to treasure. Highly recommended.  (Mike Oliver)
Textura  (November 2008)
Married couple and alchemists extraordinaire Danielle Baquet-Long and Will
Long (aka Celer) repeatedly demonstrate the uncanny ability to take virtually
any source material and spin it into aural gold. The duo's and/OAR release
Nacreous Clouds, for instance, presents seventy-eight minutes of thirty-
seven miniatures (the longest four minutes, the shortest an 8.5 second-long
voice sample that's jarring for being so unexpected and incongruous) that
aspire to capture the "hyper-temporal nature" of said clouds which are
distinguished from other clouds in a couple of key respects: nacreous
clouds—also known as polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs)—reside in the
winter polar stratosphere at altitudes of 15,000–25,000 metres (50,000–
80,000 ft.) and, due to their high altitude and the curvature of the Earth's
surface of the, receive sunlight from below the horizon and reflect it to the
ground, shining brightly well before dawn or after dusk.

The production method adopted by the group is pure Celer: the partners first
recorded themselves playing cello, violin, piano and bells, supplemented
that material with field recordings (showers, sink water, television static,
wind, car noises, etc.), and generated tape loops from selected bits which
were then arranged into patterns and speeds that would resemble the
clouds and their movements. The coup de grace(?): "When mixing the loops,
(they) played three to six of them at a time, on different reel-to-reel tape
players connected to both of (their) laptops and channeled back out into a
Kaiser filter." Finally, Celer opted to leave the resultant material in a "raw"
state by not enhancing the tracks with reverb, a move that imbues the
material with a pristine purity. Adding to that quality is the fact that, though a
rich range of source elements was used to produce them, the resultant
material has been cleansed of identifiably associative characteristics and,
consequently, each iridescent, quietly shimmering piece, reduced to its
purest essence, floats peacefully through the stereo field, coming into view
quickly and disappearing just as fast. In general, the mood is tranquil and
the cumulative effect calming, even if some "clouds" drift more quietly than
others.

If ever a recording was tailor-made for random shuffle, it's Nacreous
Clouds—even titling the tracks vividly as Celer has done (e.g., "Passing Hills
and Still Windmills," "Voiceless Devilfish") seems an extravagance when
they could just as reasonably be named "Nacreous Clouds I," "Nacreous
Clouds II," and so on. The recording, like virtually all of Celer's output, invites
immersion and promotes the experience of temporal suspension.
Tanner Menard Blog  (December 2008)
Two is a good number in art. When things happen in two, then you can
be assured that some sort of order will be inherent in the system, and
that change will happen. I have worked with and befriended a number of
creative twosomes, but none so talented and well presented as Will
Thomas Long and Danielle Baquet-Long. Their self described sound,
visual, literary, and artistic endeavor working under the moniker 'Celer' is
making waves in the ambient music scene. I remember the first night that I
heard the music of Celer. It was early in the summer of 2007, in the mission
district of San Francisco, and I came across their Archaic Horizon release
'Arriil'. Slightly inebriated, I sat transfixed as the sound, a single line gradually
unfolded like a Rosicrucian flower into a dense world of sonic variation. It
was as if I had come across a new aesthetic raison d'être. Admittedly, that
night changed the course of my musical life, taking me in a powerful new
direction away from noise, towards a music of stillness, beauty and
romanticism.

 Recently Will and Dani mailed a copy of their newly released
album 'Nacreous Clouds', a piece that I had listened to with great delight
over the course of the last year in MP3 format. Of all their work, this album,
beautifully released on Dale Lloyd's influential and/OAR label, and its sister
album, the self-released  'Neon', are cornerstone pieces of a new aesthetic
voice in experimental and ambient music.

Like the rare polar stratospheric clouds which inspire this work, this piece
fades into the lexicon of music that is hardly noticed, but exists in such great
beauty that those who come across it are left in awe at its subtle glow.

 I am
reminded of something I read once by Morton Feldman in his essay 'A Life
without Bach or Beethoven.' "A man visiting Diego Rivera once expressed
surprise to fine Miro, Arp and other abstract painters on the walls of Mexico's
great social realist. Rivera replied, 'Those paintings are for me' this is my
feeling about Christian Wolfe." This is how 'Nacreous Clouds' is for me. It is
perfectly invisible music. Like Barnet Newman's line, a perfect nothing, and
yet somehow, I let myself believe that the universe let Will and Dani create
this music just for my ears, just to inspire my own barely audible vision. What
I love most about Celer is the poetic mystery that shrouds their work. I once
heard Terence Mckenna speaking about the power of words, he suggested
that under the influence of DMT a species of multi-dimensional creatures
began telling him that words bring existence into being, you remember the
line from the bible 'and in the beginning was the word.'  If that's true, then
could it be that the poet is the ultimate sculptor of reality? In the case of
Celer, one can never dismiss the creative impulse of the poetry that
underlies their brilliant music. It is the poetry from whence this great work is
brought into being.  

Somehow these works remind me a bit of William Blake.
Finely crafted small works of romanticism, packaged gingerly in simplistic
naturalism. The work of a master craftsmen full of universal love. Just
yesterday I asked Will to say a few words about Blake and he responded, 'A
friend of mine used to love Blake. I think he still does. He used to get
inspired by reading Blake, and write poems, then burn them, leaving ashes
all over my driveway.'
 Somehow I feel that this is me in the wake of this
powerful music.
Brain Dead Eternity  (December 2008)
“Nacreous clouds” is just another definition for “Polar stratospheric clouds”
or PSCs, whose abnormal shining occurs before dawn or after dusk due to
the sunlight received from beyond the horizon, a luminosity that is also
reflected to the ground in those circumstances. To sonically represent this
phenomenon, Will Thomas Long and Dani Baquet-Long recorded several
segments of music and human activity, either by playing regular instruments
(cello, violin, piano and bells) or aptly described “household sounds” (water,
TV static, etc.) together with “classic” field recordings. Afterwards, they made
tape loops of the whole, setting the playback at various speeds in different
combinations, the results processed by laptops and “channelled back out
into a Kaiser filter”.

If you think that it’s possible to detect even a slight particle of the above
mentioned sources while listening to this CD you’re completely wrong, as
the 37 pieces forming this malleable architecture – improvable by shuffling
the tracks according to the composers – are short glimpses of a state of
conscious stupor that renders this work, in all probability, the best Celer
album I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy. The “raw iridescent ambience”
depiction used in the press release is a good one: umbrageous entities,
whispered amorphousness, sudden disappearances and somnolent
reminiscences are all part of a same mental condition, the nerves receiving
a much needed rubdown that transforms a latent tenseness into a resinous
melancholy. Goodbye to vigilance, welcome to inside responsiveness. A fine
paradigm of contemporary ambient at low volume, but also an exciting
titillation of particular frequencies as the mixture is left free to reveal its stifled
resonances more deliberately.  (Massimo Ricci)
Vital Weekly  (September 2008)
Highly ambient loops are created to make the music. It's played by cello,
violin, piano, bells but also household sounds, the wind, walking gravel
streets and such like, but if you wouldn't know this, you could as easily
mistake this for a bunch of slow arpeggio's played on an analogue
synthesizer. But it's not. Celer created loops of everything and playing three to
six on their reel-to-reel recorders, 'connected to both our laptops and
channeled back out into a Kaiser filter', they say. Perhaps the 'Kaiser filter'
makes that these thirty- seven (!!) tracks sound quite similar with sonic
differences to be spotted through a microscope. It moves like the clouds, like
those mentioned in the title, which occur in winter time. Not entirely winter
time here (will it ever be again?) yet, and not many clouds on a beautiful
autumn day (my kind of weather), but if I would open up a window things
would certainly get chilly in here, and this could be a great sound track.
Beautiful examples of somewhat darker ambient music.  (Frans De Waard)
Loop  (December 2008)
La música de Celer me hace pensar, observar la naturaleza que, en este
caso es un austero jardín. El sol pronto se va a disipar entre los edificios de
Santiago… Los loops fluyen en la atmósfera uniendo sonidos analógicos y
digitales, como si fueran ondas que van y vienen. Es el paisaje sonoro
perfecto para ver o imaginar las nacaradas nubes que son un fenómeno
que se da en el invierno polar, especialmente en el Antártico, en donde se
experimentan temperaturas de 78° grados bajo cero. Estos drones sonoros
fueran hechos originalmente por un cello, violín, piano y campanillas
además de registros de campo, cuyos sonidos son puestos en cintas que
son tocadas al unísono y luego procesadas por el laptop. Celer está
compuesto por Will Thomas Long y Danielle Baquet-Long, ambos
escritores y educadores quienes residen en el norte de California.  
(Guillermo Escudero)
Tokafi (January 2009)
Nacreous Clouds germinate in the polar winter of skies draped across
Alaska, Iceland, Scandinavia, Northern Canada and, most notably, the
Antarctic. Tokens of these rare cloud types, these mother of pearls, are
wrung from household objects and natural instruments such as cello, violin,
piano and bells on this, Celer's first contribution to the and/Oar catalogue.

In a space of seventy some odd minutes, thirty-seven small tracks appear -
made up of processed tape loops - and are generally rigorous, moving and
yet clear-eyed. The filmy sheets are delicately poised as they curl and uncurl,
stretch and contract, almost mimicking the way in which these clouds tend to
reveal the wind and the waves of the stratosphere. Perhaps not surprisingly,
the speed of the pieces changes like small spasms and the odd work
ascends higher or lower than the majority of others.

During tracks like "Swarms Of Orange" and "Seeing; That Side Of Teaching",
furthermore, there is noticeable emphasis on vivid and slowly shifting
iridescent colors. It's real music for synaesthetes, for whom the hue of a note
or chord is not a metaphorical device but an objective fact. Sans reverb and
other such processing techniques, these pieces manage to strike at the
emotional registers with some immediacy.  (Max Schaefer)
Aquarius Records  (September 2008)
Celer is the husband and wife team of Dani Baquet-Long and Will Long, who
currently reside somewhere down on the Southern California coast. They've
released a handful of well-received ambient recordings on Spekk and
Infraction, and they've found a good home on and/OAR for this driftscape of
tapeloop interplay. As for the title, a nacreous cloud is found in the upper
regions of the atmosphere at the polar regions. Well past sunset and well
before sunrise, these clouds showcase a radiant brightness against an
otherwise darkened sky; and it's this particular phenomenon that forms the
inspiration for Celer's album of the same name. Having stretched the tones
of various instruments into languid looping drones and bliss-out ambience,
Celer presents 37 short tracks which actually work really well as a single
composition, given the gentle flutter and restrained attack from all of their
sounds. References abound to William Basinski's ambient work, Aidan
Baker's soft focus facets, and of course the seminal work of Brian Eno.
Soundscaping  (January 2009)
Mysterious, cloud formations take shape in Celer’s new ambient album.

To start off, this album reminds me of one of Information’s old ambient
recordings; their follow-up Successor which comprised 90-something bits
and pieces with the simple instructions in the back to press random, then
play, then sit back and enjoy. Such is the statement issued before-hand by
Celer too regarding their album,
Nacreous Clouds; their ambient journey
plays just as well in sequence as jumbled up in random order, so naturally I
was intrigued and have listened through in various orders in addition to the
traditional track order.

A little background on Celer first though; some may recall them as half of the
force behind the Mesoscaphe album reviewed here at Soundscaping earlier
in 2008 (ed. to which a highly anticipated follow-up is being worked upon).
The duo is California-based husband and wife, Will Long and Danielle
Baquet-Long; both teachers in education, the former also a published writer
and instrumentalist into field recordings and sound experiments. The latter
works in special education and music therapy, and is specialised in a
multitude of disciplines as well as a seasoned globe-trotter from long stays
abroad.

Personalia aside,
Nacreous Clouds delivers on both accounts; played
chronologically and in random order, and is an absolutely sublime piece of
ambient music. Will & Dani use sounds from piano, cello, bells, violins and
field recordings and computers to process until the boundaries of each
constituent instrument disappear and the result is just a lovely, floating
stream of unassuming, non-pretentious sound. Soothing compositions of
anything from half a minute and up to longer drones at five minutes all
contribute to a holistic feeling of something serene and beautiful, like slowly
developing clouds that form a shape then disperse and take on a different
appearance, holding each shape for a limited time but all the while
captivating to the listener, like the sky when you witness the phenomenon of
mother of pearl clouds. The music is moving and restrained, sometimes
growing in force then retracting, but never with elements that break the
conformity of the entire composition. In this way, Celer have produced an
indispensable collection of ambient soundscapes that flow seamlessly and
would be ideal for home listening as a supplement to relaxation. If you are
looking for an ambient album from 2008, look no further than
Nacreous
Clouds
on the influential and/OAR label.  (Trym)
Furthernoise  (April 2009)
Nacreous Clouds is a depiction of forms that drape themselves in the winter
across the skies of the polar North. These clouds get sunlight from below
the horizon and reflect it to the ground, radiant before dawn or after dusk. 37
short tracks of iridescent ambience reflect their inner life, mercurial nature
reflected in their evanescence. Sounds drawn from life (showers, running
water, TV static, wind, cars, gravel streets) and instruments (cello, piano,
bells) are formed into mellifluous mother-of-pearl tonalities. A mimesis of
cloud motions in sound structures, filmy strata delicately unfurl, stretch and
contract (see this sequence), mirroring their tendency to reveal the wind and
waves of the stratosphere. Rawer than usual for this process-heavy pair,
timbres are left exposed (what? no reverb?!) to shine through undimmed -
more innocent, immediate. Possibly more affecting for this, Nacreous
Clouds has the same pleasingly tranquillizing effect as cloudwatching.
(Alan Lockett)
Sentireascoltare  (January 2009)
Trentasette micro frammenti lunghi poco meno o poco più di 2-3 minuti
sintetizzano il simbiotico unisono della coppia Danielle Bagìquet-Long / Will
Long, in arte Celer.Dichiarate propensioni ambient che in Nacreous clouds
trovano spunto per far dialogare elementi atmosferici in matrici
elettroacustiche.

Parliamo delle nubi madreperlacee, fenomeno noto nelle regioni artiche,
legato alle rigide temperature invernali che si raggiungono nella stratosfera
polare ad altitudini di 15,000–25,000 metri.A causa dell’altitudine e della
curvature della superficie terrestre queste nubi ricevono la luce del sole al di
sotto dell’orizzonte per poi rifletterlo sulla Terra.

S'incontrano tracce d’un malinconico naturalisno romantico, che prendono
consistenza nelle vaporee identità tonali di improvvisi lamenti elettrostatici.
Paradigmi d’eccellente sensibilità intrappolano l’atmosfera percettiva delle
sfumature madreperlacee che diventano motivo di dibattito su tematiche
tanto care alla musica minimale del dopoguerra.

Se volessimo parlare di influenze citeremmo i musicisti-scenziati alla
Toshiya Tsunoda, la ricerca sulle ombre sonore, il concetto di “ecologia-
sonora”, “musica invisibile”, senza dimenticare gli studi ormai classici legati
al periodo post-werbiano del puntualismo, o le contemporanee affinità di
Mark Fell.Ma non è questo il punto.

Piuttosto stupisce l’organica architettura di fondo che trama per 78 minuti
celando fonti analogiche e digitali abilmente plasmate in laptop, tagli, filtri e
field-recording senza perdere di vista il filo conduttore.Quel filo conduttore
che si fa portavoce d’estetiche e organiche letture ambientali,
rappresentando al meglio la mutevole identità di una nuvola e dei suoi
fondali in colore.Una delle migliori opere del duo, sicuramente un raro
esempio di poesia sonora.  (Sara Braco)